Leaving Behind Media

6 02 2013

I recently read the following book:
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, and have decided to stop reading the “news.”  The summary of the book is quite simple:

  • Modern non subscription media is paid by advertisements shown.  More clicks = more money.
  • News happens infrequently.
  • Pseudo news is much more click friendly, and thus the media generates pseudo news.  Making things up, publishing the most audacious or controversial points of view, exaggerating, etc.
  • News sites are no longer trustworthy.  They do no research, no follow up, and their sources are usually anonymous (aka people reporting it for their own interest).  It took 1 day after finishing this book to read this anti-news story: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/no-free-wi-fi-isnt-coming-to-every-us-city/
  • Combining these makes the media easy to manipulate and quite a beast in terms of destructive capability.  Also it is useless for normal people and no longer serves its purpose as current events.

Because reading the news has becoming just about churning through articles to avoid boredom, I am leaving it behind.  As I constantly try to remind myself: spend time, don’t kill it.  Reading “the news” is most definitely killing time.

Ask yourself after a week, has reading news/blogs/gossip given me any actionable ideas?   10 to 1 says it didn’t.  At most it acted like TV, filling some hours, giving you a low dosage of happiness, but overall just being a waste of time that you could have used learning a new skill, talking with your friends, or playing with your kids.

Originally I intended to stay on Facebook and follow RSS feeds on Arstechnica and Lifehacker (both posting 50 articles a day, compared with 4 to 10 a few years ago), but have quickly seen that this will not be conducive to my reasons for leaving media.  Facebook hardly has any life updates from friends (the main reason to be on it IMO), and is mostly people re-posting the crap they read on the media sites.  Arstechnica has the occasional interesting piece, but there’s too much BS to sort through.  Same with lifehacker.

I will continue responding to messages and posts on facebook, but that’s all.  I still read the following blogs: Study Hacks, Earlyretirementextreme, IWTYTBR, Neil Strauss, Seth Godin, TED talks list, baseline scenario, Tim Ferriss, my personal friends, and dilbert/xkcd comics.

So, bon voyage mass media!




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